Mental Health

Bullying and it’s effect on mental health

Being bullied is a truly awful thing to experience. Whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, all are damaging. Bullying and it’s effect on mental health is me talking about my experience and it’s effect on me. I completely understand that other people will have different experiences but as always, I will be open and give my honest opinion and accounts.

I have unfortunately be subjected to all kinds of bullying. From physical violence to mental abuse. This from adults and children throughout my childhood and teenage years. My life has been full of people trying to break me, and to some extent they did. I am still stuck with the memories, the feelings, the emotions, the fear and self hatred that those people instilled on me.

Bullying doesn’t end the moment the bully stops or when they move away. It haunts you. It consumes you. It stays with you every single day until you become the bully. Bullying yourself everyday into believing you deserved what they did. Believing the nasty things they called you. It’s relentless.

Bullying and it's effect on mental health

I am petrified of my boys being bullied. I never want them to experience anything like I did. Unfortunately my son has  experienced some bullying already. Physically quite violent but luckily I stepped in along with his teacher and the situation has been resolved. He is loving school again.

I have brought him up to never bully anyone. Never be cruel or unkind. Treat others how you want to be treated. And he is amazing at being kind. He always looks after his friends and classmates and makes sure everyone is ok. I am beyond proud of him for that.

I know that the reasons for why people bully can be very different and sometimes be quite complex. One reason that is often used is that bullies are being or have been bullied. This is terribly sad but at the same time I don’t always except that as a reason. I have been through some awful things and yet I have never ever bullied anyone. I wouldn’t, because I know how it feels.

I think there needs more work in schools certainly but ultimately it’s down to the parents to teach their children right from wrong, and unfortunately some parents won’t do this and simply don’t care. I have seen it. They turn a blind eye or say “It’s boys being boys!” “Girls are just like this at this age!” etc. Not good enough in my opinion!

I suffer with BPD (borderline personality disorder), anorexia, depression and anxiety. This comes from my childhood of being bullied. If I think back to some of the things that were said or shouted to me I still repeat them to myself now. I still believe them – 15/20 years on!

When I begin to experience a particularly low episode of my illnesses I am taken back to those dark times of my childhood and feel those feelings again and again. I hurt myself because I deserve it – so I believe. Bullying takes something from you. Your ability to believe in yourself, be yourself and love yourself. It tears apart relationships, school or work, hobbies and ultimately, your life.

I remember being terrified of my walk to and from school and always walking with my head down just to avoid eye contact with anyone. This was me protecting myself from potential bullies but it also left me alone and isolated, as I then struggled to trust anyone and make friends.

I was bullied for everything and anything. Being tall. Being skinny. Having braces. Being flat chested. Being weird! It didn’t seem to matter what I did I was just destined to be bullied.

Its really so sad when I look back because I tried so so hard to fit in. I would do everything certain groups did. Say the right things, wear the right things, listen to the right music. None of it mattered. I always felt like an outsider. I always felt like I didn’t belong.

Bullying and it's effect on mental health

Bullies have a lot to answer for. They steal lives. Not only in the way they have stolen mine but so many beautiful children are killing themselves everyday because they can’t cope with the bullying anymore. Yes my bullying was horrendous but I at least could retreat to my bedroom and get a break from it. Now with online forums and social media its impossible to escape it. I really feel for children today and it makes me even more terrified for my sons. What they might experience.

I remember my first suicide attempt at about 13 years old. Bullying by a group of girls had become too much. They had tormented me all week. I spent my breaks in the girls toilets and tried to run home but they always found me. Shouting things at me. Making everyone around us laugh at me. Hitting me with their bags. Throwing things at me, pushing me into bushes. I was even pushed into the road on a few occasions. I got home and for what ever reason I was told off by my parents for something my siblings had done. I tried to argue my case but they were having none of it. That was it for me. I couldn’t cope anymore. I took a packet of tablets from the bathroom and one from the kitchen, took them to my bedroom later that evening and crushed them up into water. I then drank and went to bed. I remember laying there feeling so calm – almost happy. It felt like the pain was all going to end.

Obviously I’m still here today so my attempt was unsuccessful. The bullying continued for many many years but I never tried to end it like that again, until a few years ago. I was still desperately unhappy but I felt like I just had to get on with it. I reported it to teachers and told my parents but not an awful lot was done about it.

I think schools must work harder, as should parents, at stamping out bullying the moment they become aware. Zero tolerance. I really think the This Morning’s #BeKind campaign is great and I am actually printing off their resources and I am going to be taking them into my sons school.

I know I say this a lot but I think it’s an important message to adults and children alike;

Be kind always. You never know what battles people might be facing.

Take care of yourselves and others.

Love Amy x

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